WHEN NEVADA HAS THE BALL:
|Passing||Colin Kaepernick: 10 Comp., 12 Att., 122 Yds., 0 TD, 1 Int.
Nick Graziano: 7 Comp., 12 Att., 75 Yds., 0 TD, 0 Int.
|Rushing||Vai Taua: 12 Att., 103 Yds., 2 TD
Brandon Fragger: 9 Att., 83 Yds., 1 TD
Luke Lippincott: 9 Att., 70 Yds., 1 TD
Colin Kaepernick: 6 Att., 63 Yds., 3 TD
|Receiving||Mike McCoy: 6 Rec., 67 Yds., 0 TD
Marko Mitchell: 4 Rec., 49 Yds., 0 TD
Chris Wellington: 3 Rec., 42 Yds., 0 TD
|Statistical Leaders||Texas Tech|
|Tackles||Jamar Wall: 9
Marlon Williams: 7
Brent Nickerson: 6
Brian Duncan: 6
|Sacks||Marlon Williams: 1.0
Brandon Williams: 1.0
McKinner Dixon: 1.0
|Interceptions||Daniel Charbonnet: 1
Rajon Henley: 1
Brian Duncan: 1
Nevada Passing Offense v. Texas Tech Passing Defense: Colin Kaepernick was okay passing the ball last week, but he really didn't need to pass too much against Grambling State. Historically, Kaepernick has been really efficient, finishing last year with an 8.8 yards per attempt average (this is a great number) and had 6 touchdowns to every interception last year. Kaepernick's biggest deficiency is that he's not very efficient, completing on 53% of his passes last year, which is somewhat surprising Nevada's success running the ball, you would think that the offense would open up a little more. Mike McCoy is Nevada's leading receiver from last year and has stepped up this year as well. Both McCoy (6'0"/190) and Marko Mitchell (6'3"/210) are decent sized receivers, perhaps another reason why the Texas Tech coaching staff wanted size opposite Jamar Wall. Nevada didn't utilize their tight ends last wee, as Virgil Green caught 2 passes for 6 yards, but I think it's safe to say that the Wolf Pack tight ends are used more for blocking than as pass-catchers.
The Texas Tech secondary took somewhat of a hit last week, giving up over 300 yards seems downright awful, but EWU was exposing the soft part of the defense, utilizing short passes and taking advantage of matchups. I'm not sure that we'll see the same on Saturday, but at the very least, this team should be better prepared for a short passing game. The Nichols-Davis touchdown last week was on Wall and Charbonnet and I think they both know they can't afford to let any receiver get behind them, this was, perhaps, the secondary's biggest letdown of the game. Other than that, I thought the group had a pretty nice effort. Wall (9), Nickerson (6), Charbonnet (5) and McBath (5) were all in the top 10 in tackles, and as a team there were only 8 assisted tackles for the entire game, which means that who ever was making tackles was not letting EWU gain any additional yardage.
I think the secondary has more than enough players to keep pace with Nevada, just play it smart.
Advantage: Texas Tech
Nevada Rushing Offense v. Texas Tech Rushing Defense: This is where this game is won or lost, right? If Texas Tech can have some success stopping Nevada's running game then there's a game to be won, but if this is UT or OSU version 2008, then it's going to be a long day. As I was reviewing Nevada's stats from last week, I couldn't help but think that the way the coaching staff split the Nevada carries is similar to how Texas Tech likes to distribute passes. Five guys saw 6 or more carries, with Taua leading the way with 12, but there was a pretty even distribution of rushing attempts. In comparison to last year, it was the Luke Lippincott and Colin Kaepernick show, where they accounted for over 65% of the rushing attempts. Nevada does return almost all of their offensive line, so there's probably not any issues with continuity, these guys are pretty good.
Opportunity. That's right, this game is an opportunity for the Texas Tech defense. This is one of those games where you tell the guys that as long as you do your job, stay at home, contain, etc., then everything will be fine. You do your job and the guy next to you does his job then everything will be fine. As I've stated this week, I didn't get to see the game, so I can't say how the defensive line looked, although only giving up 23 yards rushing isn't bad, but Marlon Williams (7), Brian Duncan (6) and Bront Bird (5) were making quite a few tackles. The defensive line was relatively quiet, but I think that we can look at this as the defensive line was successful in allowing their linebackers make plays. I wouldn't mind seeing more of Sesay, who failed to show up in the boxscore and less of Sandy Riley, especially if he's going to continue to make awful penalties. It was good to see both Brandon Williams, Marlon Williams, and McKinner Dixon each register a sack on Saturday. I think it's just a matter of time before Daniel Howard makes an impact on a game.
Nevada is going to have success, but (I'm going to keep telling myself this until it becomes true) this is not last year's defense, it will bend, but it won't break.